Cohase Chamber of Commerce Newsletter
Where the River Unites
 Our Communities
May 2016
In This Issue
Upcoming Events


Please note details about all events can be found in our Calendar of Events at our WEB site
www.cohase.org

May 22
Cohase Young Professionals 
Potluck Meeting
5:00 - 7:00 PM
Alumni Hall
Haverhill Corner, NH
mepriestley@gmail.com
802-222-1909 

May 22
Paddle the Border
10:00 AM
Woodsville Community Field
Woodsville, NH 

May 25
The Secret Garden
Auditions
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Old Church Theater
Bradford, VT

May 27-June 4
Customer Appreciation Days
Bradford, VT
Watch for info! 

May 28
Annual Spring Craft Fair 
9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
United Congregational

Route 10
Orford, NH

May 28
Haverhill Garden Club
Plant Sale
8:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Haverhill Common
Haverhill, NH
 
May 28
Yard Sale Extravaganza
Library Fundraiser
Veterans Memorial Park
Groton, VT
 
May 28 & 29
Vermont Crafts Council Open Studio Tour
Newbury, VT
10:00 AM-4:00 PM
 
May 29
The Secret Garden
Auditions
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Old Church Theater
Bradford, VT 

June 5
BCC Race to the Top
of Bradford
8:30 AM
Wright's Mountain
Chase Hollow
Bradford, VT
rickevans111@yahoo.com
802-439-3559

June 18-19
Relay for Life of North County
3:00 PM - 7:00 AM
Lancaster Fairgrounds
Lancaster, NH
 
For more info or details about upcoming events, please visit our WEB site at www.cohase.org
:: 802-518-0030
Dear Members:
  
I apologize for our newsletter being published a bit late this month!  I hope you are well and enjoying the pleasures and excitement that Spring brings.   We have lots going on in our area and we will continue to publicize and promote as many events as possible.   Please notify us if you have any events or news that you think would be noteworthy to share with our membership.

We look forward to the Spring Paddle the Border this Sunday, May 22 which should prove to be another successful and enjoyable event for our area.  Let's hope the weather cooperates but it looks good as of this writing.   Thanks to those businesses and organizations who have provided us information and promotional items for their businesses to distribute at Paddle the Border.  We will be happy to share them.  Even if you will not be paddling, please join us for food and music at the takeout point at Bedell Bridge State Park. We expect the paddlers to start arriving at around 1:30 PM.

I was so pleased to see our largest turnout ever at our annual Business Breakfast with forty attendees including some new businesses and some new members!

As always, thanks so much for your support.

Exciting things to come!

Sincerely,
 

 

Erik Volk
Executive Director
cohasechamber@gmail.com
(802) 518-0030

  
Member Moment
This  column is devoted to learning more about our member businesses.  We ask the business five questions.  Questions will vary by month.

T his month we were pleased to speak with  Dana and Julie Huntington  of North Haverhill Agway  in North Haverhill New Hampshire. North Haverhill Agway is a family owned and operated business which carries a wide variety of products such as lawn and garden supplies, pet supplies, nursery plants, annuals, perennials, mulch, fencing, wood pellets, coal, and much more.  Our conversation is a combination of responses from both Julie and Dana.
Dana & Julie Huntington

Q. When and how did you start your business?
A. We purchased the business twenty-six years ago.  I (Dana) started right out of college in the Agway Management Training Program in July 1987.  My first assignment was in White River Junction, Vermont which lasted about a year.  The training program was all about getting to know all aspects of the Agway business from sweeping floors to making management decisions. In March of 1988, I was transferred to North Haverhill. The store at that time was still operated by Agway, Inc.  The opportunity came up for us to purchase it around December of 1989 and we purchased it in February 1990.  Agway, Inc. actually went bankrupt and sold the right to use the Agway name and logo to Southern States Cooperative out of Richmond, VA.  To most people the Agway name is synonymous with their local store. However, there are no more corporately owned Agway stores.  All of the retail stores are now independently owned.  Agway realized that independently owned stores were more profitable and were run better.  We are still an authorized Agway dealer and we still buy and sell Agway products but we are not required to do so.

Q.  Where did the two of you grow up?  Are you from a farming background?
A. We are both originally from southern New Hampshire.  We both grew up on farms.  Dana grew up on a dairy farm and I (Julie) grew up on a beef farm.  We both went to college in Kansas and graduated from Kansas State. We started dating freshman year of college but knew each other before that through 4H.

Q. Have you seen your business change over the years?
A. Oh, yes.  We still sell a lot of the products we sold in 1990 but also sell a lot more things.  Now, we sell pool chemicals, gardening supplies, nursery items, fencing, pet supplies, landscaping supplies and much more. We still do sell a lot of feed and animal supplies.  However, nowadays, our customer base has changed, not by us doing anything, but just by the nature of the business.  We used to be relatively large in the farming industry. Each farmer would need to come to Agway to get their supplies.  Now a lot of them buy from a "store on wheels" that fills a lot of their basic needs.  We can't blame them because the convenience is tremendous and the variety is much larger that what we can offer.  We cater a lot more now to the "backyard" farmer.   Pet supplies are also a big part of our business.  Pet supplies actually encompass almost half of our retail space. Parts of our business are seasonal but people feed their pets all year round.  We carry 25-30 brands of pet food and we try to do what we can for people if they need a specific type of pet food  We have access to quite a few of them through our suppliers.

Q.   What are your biggest business challenges?
A. People don't always see the challenges we go through as a small business.  Managing employees, scheduling employees and dealing with employee conflicts is difficult for a small business.  Advertising is also challenging.  It is a big deal trying to find the right mix of advertising.  Advertising used to be simple but now there are endless opportunities especially with social media.  Seasons are challenging too. For example, we need winter to happen and snow and ice so that we can sell the rock salt, sand, wood pellets and other winter supplies.  However, spring is definitely huge for us.  It is our "Christmas" season.  We have to make most of our money in the spring.  Balancing high and low seasons is a learned process that takes years.

Q.  What advice would you give new businesses in our region?
A. The one big thing is to be part of the community.  It is crucial.  Church, Little League, whatever your involvement...get to know the people...delve into the community.  Time commitment, hard work and patience are key.  We didn't take a vacation for the first five or six years that we owned the business. However, the business has provided us with many opportunities which we would not otherwise have had including being able to raise our family here.
Ask The Chamber

Q.  I have a business in Bradford, VT and have heard a lot of conflicting information about the average income of our residents.  Do you have access to any statistics about income levels for Bradford and the surrounding towns?

A.
We do not maintain any statistics ourselves and as we all know, numbers can be presented in many different ways from many different sources.  The following data  is provided from city-data.com which is a an Illinois-based informational Web site that compiles data from a variety of government sources.  The statistics below are compiled from US Census data and US Census data estimates and reflective of 2013 data collection, which is the most recent data available.  Although there are other sources including state sources that quote slightly different statistics, the US Census data presented by city-data.com allows us to present data from the same data source to minimize possible difference in data collection methods.  Please keep in mind, we cannot validate the accuracy of this information and it is presented here for informational purposes.

When looking at the income statistics, it is important to differentiate between "Median Household Income" and "Per Capita Income."   Median Household Income is arrived at by dividing the town population into two segments, one that falls above the "median" line and one that falls below the "median" line.  So, for Bradford, this means that roughly half of the population makes above $29,521 and one half makes below that amount. Per Capita Income is arrived at by taking the total income for the town and dividing it by the number of residents.  For the towns in our region, "Median Household Income" is a more meaningful statistic.  We have included estimates for the state Median Income as well for comparison purposes. 

In addition, we should note that Income statistics do not necessarily indicate buying power as retired individuals may have a large amount of savings but relatively low income. 

Town Income Summary





The Clings Are Coming!  The Clings are Coming!
 
We have recently placed an order for Chamber static window clings to replace our old stickers.  We know the stickers can sometimes be hard to remove and the clings may be a better option for many folks.  The clings can be placed on the inside of a window facing out and are easily removable and can be quickly re-positioned.  As we continue our ongoing visits to members in the area, we will be distributing the new clings to those businesses who would like one (or more.)  Since we realize that not all our members require a new membership sticker/cling and/or may not have an appropriate place to display them, we will not be doing a mass mailing to all members with the new cling.  However, if you would like one of the new clings, please let us know and we will drop one (or more) by your business or stick them in the mail to you.  As always, you can contact us via email at cohasechamber@gmail.com or via phone at (802) 518-0030.  We hope that you will display your new window cling proudly! 
 
Kevin and Liz Shelton
photo courtesy of Peter Terry
Largest Business Breakfast Attendance in Chamber History!

Thanks to all the members who attended our Business Breakfast at the Colatina Exit in Bradford, Vermont on May 11.  With approximately forty attendees, it was our biggest turnout in the history of the event!

Community reports from most of our member communities kept all the members up to date on the successes and challenges in our region. Topics included new business developments in Woodsville such as the planned consolidation of Everything But the Cook and An Affair to Remember into one location and the purchase of the former Central Supply building by Coventry Log Homes.  The challenges of empty storefronts in many of our area communities and the potential impact on businesses due to the Route 5 work that is planned for Bradford to Ryegate were also discussed. Sherri Brown announced the change in name of the Bradford Merchants Association to the Bradford Business Association to be more inclusive of businesses of all types.  A number of announcements about upcoming events were also communicated (see calendar at left or our WEB site) as well as Creative Economy development efforts and Chamber updates.  Of equal importance was the chance to speak and mingle with other business owners and community members accompanied by a delicious breakfast!  Thanks to Colatina Exit for hosting our breakfast and a special thanks to Wells River Chevrolet and the Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Commission for sponsoring the event!
 
Paddle the Border This Sunday!
 
The Chamber is excited to help sponsor the Spring Paddle the Border event scheduled for this Sunday, May 22!  The Spring Paddle will start at Woodsville Community Field in Woodsville, NH and continue to the Bedell Bridge State Park Boat Launch in Haverhill Corner, NH.  Drop your boat off at Woodsville Community Field and park your car at Bedell Bridge State Park.  Volunteers will watch your boat and a free shuttle service will bring you back to Woodsville to start your voyage!  Approximate launch time will be from 10:30-11:00 AM.  The approximate paddle time for most folks will be 3.5 to 4 hours.  Once you reach Bedell Bridge State Park, join us for a cookout sponsored by the Wells River/Woodsville Rotary Club and music by the Strawberry Farm Band.  The Chamber will also have an information table at Bedell Bridge State Park so be sure to stop by, say hello and drop off any coupons or other business promotional items if you like!  For more information or to volunteer, please contact Michael Thomas at (802) 757-3960 or via email at mikethom1@charter.net.
 
Member Updates
  • Safe Ship, Inc. in Bradford, Vermont is having an Open House this Saturday, May 21 from 8 AM to noon.  Stop by for a visit at 226D Industrial Drive (in Pierson Industrial Park) in Bradford, Vermont.  Find out how Laurie and Emilie can help your business with their complete mailing, packing and shipping services.  If you can't make it, be sure to visit them online at www.bradfordpacknship.com or give them a call at (802) 222-4000.
  • Oxbow Senior Independence Program Adult Day Care Services (OSIP) in Newbury, VT has updated their website at www.osipads.org.  Take a moment to visit it and learn about all OSIP has to offer.  You can also access their community survey on the site and they would love to get your input and opinions.  Please take a moment to complete the survey!
  • The United Congregational Church in Orford, NH is looking for a piano player willing to be paid $20 per Sunday to play hymns and responses.  If interested, please contact Elizabeth Wilson musician1984@aol.com or call 802-522-8868.
  • The Newbury Health Clinic still has room in their CPR class on Tuesday, May 24 and their Basic First Aid class on June 1.  Classes will be held at the Newbury Health Clinic.  Call 802-866-3000 to sign up or for more information.
  • Tyler Fellows of Wells River Chevrolet recently placed a solid 3rd place OVERALL in the NEATV 450/Open "C" category in Southwick, Massachusetts.  Congratulations Tyler!
  • Hatchland Farm would like to honor our past and present military personnel by giving them FREE ice cream!  Stop by on May 28, 29 or 30th and show them your military ID card, VA card, dog tag or other identification and enjoy your free ice cream in appreciation of your service to our country!
  • Steenburgh Auctioneers will be having three estate auctions in the coming weeks.  June 4 in Orange, VT; June 8 in Woodsville, NH; and June 11 in Orford, NH.  Visit their website at www.steenburgh.com for photos and details!
  • Tool Barn in Bradford, Vermont has a new mini-excavator available for rent. Stop by and check it out...it's a beauty!
  • Salon 83 in Woodsville, NH is celebrating their 1 year anniversary.  Stop in and help them celebrate and enjoy 25% of all services and retail!
  • River Bend Career and Technical Center in Bradford, VT is interviewing for several staff positions in the Fall including EMT/Firefighter, Natural Resources, Small Engine Repair and Health Services instructors.  Visit them at www.rbctc.org to apply online.
  • The Happy Hour Restaurant in Wells River, VT is celebrating their 70th year in business and is offering for a limited time only, a $10 menu.  The special is available Monday-Thursday from 11:30 AM to close.  Stop by and check it out!
  • Oxbow High School is pleased to announce that student Briggs Heffernan hasbeen selected for VPR's Young Writers Project.  Take a listen to his poem "Cold" at  http://digital.vpr.net/programs/young-writers-project#stream/0